USDA report day today at 11:00 AM CT.

A mixed grain trade played out overnight, with wheat futures firm alongside rising world values and French Milling wheat making new contract highs. Today is the NASS/WASDE report day with numbers out at 11 AM CT and FSA out at Noon CT with key reports. FSA’s website says that it will release its program participation data at 12 Noon CT, an hour earlier than last year. FSA data does not correlate very well with final NASS estimates until the October report. Still, in recent years, analysts have tried to use the FSA data to argue for higher or lower 2021 planted acres.

This is now the third year that NASS did not head to the fields in August. Today’s August NASS yield/crop estimates are based on a blend of farmer survey responses and satellite imagery. It is September when actual NASS field survey data is reported. This makes the September report far more important to the market in gauging final 2021 US corn/soy yields. Recall that last year yields dropped 9 BPA from the August number into the final crop report due to the warm, dry finish of last year’s crop. It is widely anticipated that corn and bean yield numbers will at least be lower than prevailing USDA numbers at the beginning of the crop year. The question is, to what degree?

The path of Tropical Storm Fred is unchanged overnight, with landfall either as a weak hurricane or a tropical storm near Apalachicola, Florida. The forecast for the Central US is arid with near to above normal temperatures for the next week, with Fred causing uncertainty in the 8-14 day forecast period. The models are leaning to some rain for the Plains and the W Midwest, but the models differ on the exact locations/amounts. The Canadian model is the driest, with the European model the wettest. A generally dry Central US weather pattern will prevail for the next 7-8 days with ill-defined rains in the 9-15 day period. Showers will finish up today across the E Midwest, with a lengthy period of dry/sunny/warm weather noted for the next week. Heat will persist across the Plains, and the W Midwest with high temps ranging from the upper 80’s to the lower 100’s. The E Midwest is warm with high temps ranging from the upper 80’s to the lower 90’s. The warmth will push crop maturity.

Cattle futures yesterday were lower in quiet trade, while feeder cattle futures acknowledged higher corn prices and drifted on that prospect as well. Feeder cattle trade today will be a function of the corn and soymeal action today. Cash cattle trade remains quiet across the plains, while cattle in the South moved at $121 or steady for the week. Markets in the north were quiet on limited demand. The midweek outlook is firm. Boxed beef prices continued to soar with the choice premium gaining. The choice cutout gained $5.48 on Wednesday, and the select was $3.38 higher. The choice/select spread gained $2.10 to a $22.81 choice premium or $9 more than a year ago and $14 over average. 2019 is the only year that the choice premium was higher in early August.